The Gambia Minister of Education, Claudia Ayo Cole has appealed to President Julius Maada Bio to prevail on fellow West African Presidents to increase budgetary allocation to their respective education ministries even if not up to Sierra Leone’s 22%.

She made this passionate appeal on the 6th February 2023, during an open discussion session in the Foundational Learning Exchange summit at the Freetown International conference center.

Minister Cole lauded President Bio for his strides in developing Sierra Leone’s educational system.

President Bio assured the development Partners of his strong commitment towards education.

He affirmed that Education is a fundamental human Right and not a privilege. He added that he believes in fundamental human right, equal comprehensively, safe and radical inclusion of all genders, ages and all socio- economic background.

“We have added one million more learners, especially girls, achieved gender parity in basic education, and registered higher achievement out comes for girls learning,” he said

However, he acknowledged the fact that the persistent learning poverty in sub-Saharan Africa in particularly predates the single global disruption caused by the Covid-19 Pandemic.

The Minister of Basic and senior Secondary school Education expressed thanks and appreciation to President Bio for supporting the Kenyatta’s declaration for countries to invest a minimum of 20% of their budgetary allocation to education.

He disclosed that many of his colleague ministers have asked him to ask President Bio to please asked his colleagues to increase their education financing.

‘’We believe investment in educations is the best gift we can give our children. In the next two days our hope is that we identify possible solutions, some of which we are working on already and some we seek to improve such that it will promote foundational learning and accelerate progress towards the SDGS 4 goal quality education. These are investments that must be driven by evidence based policy developments and decisions making strengthening digitization and innovation, good education and promoting open collaboration with access to quality learning and teaching materials. My team was in Ghana recently learning from Ghana because we believe that we must learnt from within since we have so much in the continent. Untill every Child around the globe has an equal opportunity to access quality education the world would remain unequal and limited in its ability to harnessed our collective human capacity’’ he stated.

The learning exchange summit which commences on the 6th Feb ends today 7th February 2023. The program hosted over 80 educational policy makers, technical and development partners including seven Ministers of education from Africa. Heads of global institutions like UNESCO institutes of statistics; World Bank’s Global Education Director, and heads of several private foundations were also in attendance.

The summit is sponsored by the government of Sierra Leone with partners like the World Bank, UNICEF, Hempel Foundation, and the Ministry of Basic and Senior Secondary Education.